Healthcare advocates are warning that there aren’t enough nurses to go around and it is taking its toll on patient care.
John Bennett is one of many healthcare advocates hoping to see a change in patient care. Bennett was at his wife’s bedside at Mercy Medical Center for months as she battled cancer. He knows first hand how difficult it can be.
"The monitor alarm would go off and nobody would come. We would press the nurse’s button and nobody would come. I would go out in the hall and all of the lights would be on with every single room saying they needed a nurse. Well, there just weren’t enough nurses," Bennett said.
Not having enough nurses is something they want to change through the Patient Safety Act which goes before a legislative health committee Tuesday in Boston. If passed, the legislation would call upon the State Health Department to set safe limits on how many patients a nurse can care for at once.
Stephen Mikelis is a Staff Nurse at Mercy. He said patients are not getting the care they deserve.
"Nurses are having to take care of seven patients during the day, and sometimes at night they are having to take care of nine or 10 patients. A safe patient load per RN should be four patients per nurse," Mikelis said.
Mark Fulco is the senior vice president for the Sisters of Providence. He said the proposed "one size fits all" strategy is the wrong prescription for Massachusetts and will only increase patient cost.
"Nurse staffing needs to be based on the equity of the patient. Each individual patients needs are different and the professional nurses need the flexibility to determine what care is most appropriate for each patient and in what quantity," Fulco said.
If passed, the bill would prohibit mandatory overtime for nurses.
TV 22 In Springfield
Patient safety advocates push for bill
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Coalition to Protect Massachusetts Patients is pushing for a bill that calls for a safe limit on the number of patients a hospital nurse must care for at one time.
Backers of the Patient Safety Act, including the Massachusetts Nurses Association, gathered outside Mercy Medical Center Monday.
They held signs in support of this legislation, which also bans mandatory overtime. According to the group, low nurse staffing levels in hospitals jeopardize patient safety.
"They’re getting less health care. Nurses are running around just trying to keep patients alive…keep them safe," said Mercy Medical Center R.N. Stephen Mikelis.
Coalition members will be at the State House Tuesday testifying before the legislature’s Joint Committee on Health Care in favor of House Bill 3912.